Hindu scriptures are filled with references that describe the nature of the cow, why it should be protected and how mankind can benefit from it. In Rig Veda, the cow is referred to as ‘aghnya’ – that which does not deserve to be killed. It is also referred to as the Mother of Rudras, the Sister of Adityas, the Daughter of Vasus, and the Center of Nectar. It is also called ‘Devi’ and is considered sacred. In Vishnu Purana, Lord Krishna is referred to as the ‘well wisher of Cows and Brahmanas’. In Srimad Bhagavatam, Krishna says that one can worship God by offering grass and grains to cows. In Upanishads, there is a saying that goes ‘Gomaye Vasate Lakshmi’, which means ‘Lakshmi – the Goddess of Wealth resides in the cow’. This is also the reason why the cow is worshipped as ‘Kamdhenu’ – the divine cow that symbolizes prosperity.
It is also repeated in various puranas that whoever feeds cows is showered with God’s blessings and that the ‘punya’ of ‘Gau Samrakshana’ will not only benefit him, but also his descendents for seven generations. In Sanskrit, there are a large number of terms used to mention the cow. It goes to show that the cow was held in very high regard in ancient India. According to our scriptures, the cow is the temple in which all the Gods reside. It should be worshipped as mother or ‘Gau-Mata’, as it offers its milk for our sustenance. Cow’s milk promotes sattvic qualities in human beings. Cow’s ghee is used in yagnas and to light lamps in homes and temples. The panchagavya, made from cow’s milk, ghee, curd, urine, and dung, is used for various rituals in homes and temples